California Weather

high wind events
High winds in California can bring down large trees, rip down road signs, destroy buildings, cars – and spread fires at an alarming rate.

From atmospheric rivers to record heatwaves, droughts to snowstorms, California experiences some wild weather throughout the year. Record breaking rainfall, dramatic wind events, and huge wildfires have shattered the average norms. Giant Sequoia trees were uprooted in Yosemite due to wind, and closed the National Park in 2021.

California Road & Weather Links

National Weather Forecasters

(no ads/advertisements)

National Weather ServiceNWS

NWS Radar Map

NOAA – National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
NWS Western Regional Headquarters NOAA

Commercial Weather Forecasters


Dark Sky (by Apple, no ads)

El Dorado Weather (best low resolution weather source)
eldoradoweather.comel dorado weather

The Weather Channel (by IBM, original television channel)

Weather Underground





California Wind Storms

California Wind Events

A RED FLAG warning means damaging strong wind is predicted and can usually last for days.

High profile vehicles, such as RVs and big rigs, are advised not to travel. Services may be disrupted, including but not limited to gasoline stations, stop lights, phone systems, air travel w/ airplanes & helicopters.

PSPS – Public Safety Power Shutoffs
Utility companies may shut off electricity prior to and during wind storms – to prevent power lines starting wildfires. Having a backup power source (generator), extra food, batteries for flashlights and a hand crank radio is advised.


US Power Outages –


Snow Roads

California Roads Conditions

California Climate Data snow

historical averages, temps, snow & rainfall (1914 to 2005)

Drought Maps USA


Mountain Highway Closures

Where is Snow in California?
a list of snowy destinations

Okay, okay ….so it’s nothing like East Coast Winters, but hey, some parts of California do get some serious snow. And the newbies who don’t prepare for it will be sorry. On the winter vacation travels – be prepared for almost anything, especially in snowy Sierra’s & Northern California.

Winter Snows
Winter Snows in California

California Winters:
When does winter actually ‘set in’ for California?

  • eastern sierra: OCT- MAY
  • western sierra: NOV- APR
  • high sierra: SEPT- MAY
  • north coast: OCT- MAY
  • north cal: OCT- APR

Road ClosedTiming Planning Your Trip

Driving California Traffic

Always Bring Tire Chains
Snow Chains

snowmoThe following mountain roads are partially closed or totally closed during winter months. Always check road conditions before you leave for your trip. Snow Chains may be required!

Sierra Passes and Mountain Roads

Hwy or Road County / Area Connecting Towns
Sherman’s Pass #22S05 Kern Co. / Southern Sierra KernvilleKennedy Mdws
Highway 155 Kern Co. / Southern Sierra Alta SierraWofford Heights
Western Divide Hwy 190 Tulare Co. / Southern Sierra KernvillePonderosa
Mineral King Road (M 375) Tulare Co. / Sequoia NP Three RiversMineral King
Highway 180 Tulare Co. / Kings Cyn. NP Hume Lake – Cedar Grove
Whitney Portal Rd. Inyo Co. / Eastern Sierra Lone Pine – Mt. Whitney
Onion Valley Rd. Inyo Co. / Eastern Sierra Independence – Onion Valley
Glacier Lodge Rd. Inyo Co. / Eastern Sierra Big Pine – Glacier Lodge
Hwy 168 Inyo Co. / E Sierra – Bishop Highway 168 – South Lake
Hwy 168 Fresno Co. / W Sierra – Shaver Lake Highway 168
Hwy 120 Mariposa Co. / Yosemite NP Yosemite ValleyLee Vining
Highway 120 Mono Co. / Mono Lake Tioga Pass- Benton Hot Springs
Highway 108 Mono Co. / Sonora Pass DardanelleSonora Jct. Hwy.395
Highway 89 Alpine Co. / Eastern Sierra MarkleevilleLake Topaz, Hwy 395
Highway 4 Alpine Co. / Sierra – So. Tahoe Lake Alpine – Highway 89
Quincy LaPorte Road [120] Plumas Co. / Sierra Nevada QuincyLa Porte
Oroville Quincy Hwy [119] Plumas Co. / Sierra Nevada Berry CreekBucks LakeQuincy
Highway 36 Tehama Co. / Lassen NP Red BluffSusanville
Highway 44 Shasta Co. / Lassen NP ReddingSusanville
Highway 299 Shasta County / Burney ReddingAlturas
Winter Snow in Sierra Nevada Mountains
Winter Snow in Shaver Lake, Sierra Nevada Mountains
LaPorte Snow 2011
LaPorte Road, Northern California  (Snow July 2011)
Snow Reports Highway
Mil Potrero Highway, Los Padres NF
sherman snows
Snow Closes Sherman’s Pass, near Kern Canyon

California, off the beaten path